16 may, 2012
Mass actions turned into a norm
Author: Sergey Markov, no comments
A clear growth of public activity after 10 years of passivity has come into view in Russia. There are objective reasons for this: crisis overcome and Putin’s reforms success. Our legislation on meetings and demonstrations which had worked fine for the passive situation is unable to manage the high activity and should be amended. I believe it is important to legally divide different types of political activities.
For the first group, which assumes single-person picketing and small actions (up to 10 people), liberalization is necessary including availability of the yet prohibited zones in the center.
Second group, i.e., middle-size actions, shall be regulated in about the same way as they are now, and here the law can manage.
For the third group, i.e., mass actions (more than 10 thousand people), regulations should be strengthened in order to avoid failures, provocations and violence.
For the fourth group: in case of serious violations with the purpose to provoke mass encounters the punishment shall be also made more rigorous.
As far as the fifth group is concerned, assuming minor violations on the part of organizers without intentions to organize mass provocations, the authorities shall assist the organizers. In the gist, authority’s representatives must become “members of the steering committees” for mass actions and minimize possible organizational mistakes.
We must understand that the huge number of mass actions will exist, and that will be the norm for the future years. This is why while developing the new law we should learn the best practices of other countries where the mass actions are an old traditions. I mean Germany, France, and the U.S.
Why do I insist on the changes in the law? I am alarmed that the actions started going beyond the legal field: on May 6, the organizers’ attempt to start a sitting strike against all agreements; the attempt to organize a permanent camp in the city in Chistye Prudy; the writers’ control walk as an attempt to hold a mass political demonstration without corresponding regulations; all these things contradict with the law. Authorities must bring the mass actions back into the legal field. Organizers shall either return to the legal field or be punished.
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